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Severe storms hit south-east Queensland

Wednesday June 26, 2013 - 09:54 EST
Audience submitted image
Storm approaches: black clouds hover over Mount Ommaney in Brisbane. - Audience submitted

Emergency services are frantically cleaning up after south-east Queensland was pummelled by a severe thunderstorm today.

The storm, packing wind gusts of up to 90kph, caused flash flooding and uprooted trees.

A trail of destruction could be seen across Brisbane, with buildings damaged and thousands of homes left without power.

Energex said more than 11,000 lightning strikes had been recorded across south-east Queensland.

Brett Smith, who lives in the inner Brisbane suburb of Hawthorn, said he got zapped by a lightning strike near his home.

"I was leaning on a steel handrail and it electrocuted (sic) me through the handrail, through both of the palms of my hands, about two-and-a-half times before I had the chance to lift my hands off the rail," he said.

Meanwhile authorities are bracing for more wild weather in central and southern Queensland.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a for damaging wind, heavy rain and large hail.

Senior forecaster Jonte Hall said the activity was moving slowly through the Darling Downs, Granite Belt, Maranoa and Warrego regions.

He said another storm front moving up from northern New South Wales may also affect the Gold Coast.

John Hannan from Emergency Management Queensland is advising residents to ensure they have food, water and gas supplies, and to stay indoors if storms affect their area.

"Once the storm is over, if you do go outside beware of down powerlines. Don't touch them, call Energex," he said.

"If you are driving, get off the road during the storm. If there is a flooded waterway, don't cross a flooded waterway."

Trail of destruction

Parts of Brisbane were hit with hail, while shops in the inner western suburb of Paddington were flooded.

The ABC's South Bank office was forced to evacuate as the storm crossed the city around 10:45am (AEST).

Michaela Minx, the manager of the Kelvin Grove Markets in inner city Brisbane, said tents and stalls were flattened.

"There was a lot of tents that were mangled and destroyed and a lot of stock that, as you can imagine, was ruined," she said.

"It was quite horrific. There was a lot of terrified people, [and] a lot of people were in shock because it did hit quite fast.

"We have had cars that have had trees fall over on top of them, so the severity was definitely there."

Windsor State School principal Stephen O'Kane said two buildings and one classroom were badly damaged by falling trees.

"Half of the building has structural damage and will need to be repaired," he said.

"Two buildings have got trees on top of them and also some of the magnificent trees that we've got have come down as well."


Twelve thousand homes lost power at the height of the storm but Energex said that figure was down to 3,000.

It said areas affected by the outages included Brisbane's bayside suburbs, parts of Brisbane's inner-city suburbs, and Ipswich.

Energex said it had received reports of more than 100 powerlines down.

It said more than 100 crews were working to restore power across south-east Queensland.

More storms

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Bryan Rolstone said storm activity was also expected tomorrow.

"The thunderstorm cells in general will merge into rain overnight and rain into the morning, then we will be back into it tomorrow," he said.

"Monday looks like clearing in the weather but, short term, [because] the next south easterly change will be on our doorstep coming up from the south, that might kick up some storms on the southern border but may not necessarily reach us."


© ABC 2013

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